Just when you thought the politicization of Trayvon Martin’s death had finally reached an end, enter the Trayvon Martin nativity scene, courtesy of the Claremont United Methodist Church in California. This year their nativity scene featured an unusual element — a likeness of Trayvon Martin. According to a report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
But there he [Trayvon Martin] is, wearing a hoodie, a stream of blood pouring from his chest onto the straw-covered floor of the scene outside Claremont United Methodist Church, the holy family around him.
This is not the first year the church has used their nativity scene as opportunity to make an “artistic” statement. John Zachary is the “artist” who created the scene which he believes is an appropriate expression of the Christmas story:
John Zachary, the artist, told me the acquittal in July of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot the 17-year-old African-American in 2012, struck him as a worthy subject for Christmas comment.
For one thing, the backdrop to the Christmas story is the slaughter by King Herod of all infants in Bethlehem, a barbarous attempt to kill the Messiah.
Rather than tidings of comfort and joy, that time of year would have seen “other parents in agony because their children had just been killed,” a plaque explains.
In searching for photos of Trayvon, Zachary said one of the teenager lying dead on the pavement particularly tore at him.
“What if Jesus was lying there bleeding to death? I was kind of thinking of that,” Zachary said.
Clearly, the church and the artist were hoping to make a statement and get a reaction from people, but even that seems to be falling short:
Anthony and Gloria Huerta parked and tried to take the scene in. Gloria focused on the angels. Anthony thought Trayvon was a zombie inserted by a prankster.
“I thought this would be more controversial, but I come to find out people don’t really like people gettin’ shot,” Zachary said with a chuckle.